Monday, 16 September 2013

Category 1 is over! Friday 13th September

Now I know I said we were almost ready to go a week ago, but now we're actually almost ready to go. The new engine is all mounted and installed thanks to a lot of labour from Garth and a lot of help from Mike, a really nice engineer that Ian hooked us up with. He's been stopping by to check what Garth's done, then telling him what to do next and running off again. Which is exactly what we wanted, because it's cheaper and Garth gets to see how it all works. I'm not sure many mechanics would let us do it that way, so we were really grateful to him. Mike stayed and did all the really tricky stuff too, so we know the installation has been done right. 

Garth's dad ended up helping out with the engine a lot as well, which made a big difference to our timeframe - I think we might have had to just suck it up and wait until next year after the cyclone season if we'd had to deal with the broken engine situation on our own. He also organised a wind generator for us, because he's amazing. We knew it would be helpful on overcast days but didn't think we really needed it - and I still don't think we do. We could survive from solar power and turning the engine on occasionally and only having the fridge on for 10 mins a day with the engine. But oh my gosh it's amazing! We've had laptops plugged in, lights on, phones charging, speakers blaring and the fridge cranked to freezer temperatures to keep our meat frozen, and it's not making a dent on the amount of power that the windgen is producing in the Wellington winds.

We've also got 2 new solar panels that Ian got us an amazing deal on - our old one was 80watts, and now we've got 2x55watts. We installed 1 of them on an overcast day and our power went up to 12.7 volts by the afternoon then started dropping again. But we hadn't turned a single thing on all day - the house batteries were off and they still didnt fully charge. So we went and got the second one, mostly because 2 from Provedooring were almost the same price as 1 would be anywhere else, so we couldn't afford to change our minds later.

The deck is all painted, thanks to our wonderful friends Becca and Florent, and the boat is all set up with extra goodies thanks to Dale, Craig and Becca coming out nearly every night for a week and hooking a heap of stuff up for us. Dale and Craig slaved over everything electrical, installing our solar panels, windgen, speakers, more lights and brand new switchboard to replace our evil old fuses. Craig even put a car charger in the bow so I can plug my phone in from bed! I'm not really sure how much longer it would have taken without their help, but it would have been longer than the time it would take us to do all that because we don't know how to do it and we get overwhelmed and take even longer than normal people. 

Becca slaved away with me for 2 10 hour days cleaning out our apartment, and I'm ridiculously grateful for that - it would have taken me weeks. My darling friends Lisa and willow each spent a night with me packing it up as well, so I don't know what I would have done without all my friends. We had so much crap it literally didn't fit in the truck, so I don't know how we got it on the boat in the end. Meg and Cam helped us unpack all the food - the whole boat thing seems to be a big game of Tetris.

We got through our cat 1 inspection, barely. Everything went wrong from the start, with the exhaust pipe not being clamped tight enough and leaking everywhere, the chartplotter not being charged and the backup GPS taking forever to find a signal. But we didn't have much to fix in the end, and I should hope not with all the money we've spent on safety gear.

So we're celebrating with our adventure friends one last time tonight, before we take off tomorrow. I didn't get to say goodbye to everyone I wanted to, including Theresa and sunny at Provedooring - I've spent so much time there lately I'm definitely sad to be leaving. No more daily puppy kisses, which I'll miss especially.

Xxx Monique 

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